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Local News

Daylight Savings Time Returns Early Sunday Morning

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It’s time to “spring forward” Sunday morning, as most of the nation goes on Daylight Saving Time until November. It’s also a good time to make sure your home is a bit safer. 

Daylight Saving Time was enacted in the United States during World War I and repealed in 1919. It returned for World War II, and again ended with that war’s end. It was made permanent in 1966 and expanded in 2007. Any state can opt out of DST, as have Arizona and Hawaii.

Lt. Dan Akerman with Escambia Fire-Rescue, reminds everyone that the twice-yearly time change is a good time to make sure smoke alarms are in good working order.

“A smoke alarm is the only device that’s going to wake you up when a fire occurs when you’re sleeping,” said Akerman. “Typically if you don’t have a working smoke alarm you don’t wake up in time for you to evacuate. Or you don’t wake up at all.” Make sure to get those batteries changed out.”

Besides the overall safety benefits, smoke alarms are also vital for protecting children and seniors – who are at the highest risk of dying in a house fire. Escambia Fire-Rescue’s Daniel Akerman says other safeguards are having and maintaining fire extinguishers, and developing a family escape plan.

“You need two ways out of every room of your house,” Akerman says. “The first is typically through a doorway, front door-back door. Then if you can’t find a second doorway out, use a window. Usually, a hallway is a generic for all bedrooms, and using a window is a backup for each of those bedrooms.”

About three thousand people in the U-S die in home fires each year, according to numerous studies. Most of the fatalities occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Smoke detectors made their first appearances in homes about 40 years ago. Since then, says Pensacola Fire Marshal – and Interim Fire Chief -- David Allen, they’ve earned their reputation of “life-saver.”

“The number of fire deaths have dropped dramatically since the mid-1970s as a result of the smoke alarms,” said Allen. “As a matter of fact, the National Association of Fire Protection says that 66% of all home fire deaths between 2003 and 2006 were in homes that did not have working smoke alarms.”

Another device that’s gained favor with homeowners is the carbon monoxide detector. C-O gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless -- and if it replaces enough oxygen in the bloodstream it’s also lethal.

A tragic example of carbon monoxide’s effects was last December, when two adults and a child died at a Pensacola residence. An improperly used propane heater is believed to have caused the deaths.

Even with an all-electric home, Allen says it’s a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector in the garage -- where vehicles are parked -- and in many cases where gasoline-powered generators are used during power outages.

Low-income residents who want a smoke alarm but cannot afford one can take advantage of a local program. More information on fire safety and obtaining a smoke alarm is available at www.myescambia.com; and the Pensacola Fire Department’s website www.Pensacolafire.com.